Monday, February 7, 2011

Real Math People

If you’ve grown up as the one non-math person in a math family, you probably know this. If not, this may be interesting to you.  Real math people don’t do numbers. Seriously.  In our family, I am the token non-math person, which means that I have to keep score when we play games. Kind of pathetic really, given that I reverse numbers.  Is it any wonder that I usually win games?

But this is what many serious math people are like. (I know since I have several non-math friends who grew up in math families.) The other day, Ariel was at the library finishing a matrix when Luke and Duncan arrived (they’d just finished Spanish class). Ariel said, “Quick, I’m almost done with this matrix. Tell me what’s 12 – 6?”  Duncan whose siblings are not total math geeks said, “uh, six.”

Luke, who has experience, said, “Seven.”

Ariel said, “It’s not seven because seven is odd. When you subtract an even number from an even number you get an even number.  I can write a proof for that. So, seven can’t be right.”

Duncan said, “How can you know the proof and not know that 12 – 6 = 6?”

Welcome to our world, Duncan.

It’s not usual while Ariel is doing homework to hear her call out, “What’s 8 x 4?”

I yell back, “32.”  Then I grumble about that state of her math facts ability.

This semester Ariel is so impressed with her Advanced Linear Algebra and Matrix Theory professor because he “can actually divide two digit numbers in his head.”  A lot of math profs can’t.  I refrain from saying, “I can divide in my head too” because I know it wouldn’t be nearly so impressive—I’m not a math person so apparently it’s not an accomplishment.

So those of you who can’t remember math facts...apparently you’re just real math people.  Aren’t you glad that you know?


  1. Hmm, I'm a Chemistry person, and I can do most of the math we do without a calculator, except for the complex square roots. I have trouble with spelling though. . .

  2. Ahh...yes. I can remember all those little times tables and such. But as soon as someone asks for a proof...I go *poof*!

  3. I am very much NOT a math person. I had to do it well in school but it didn't come naturally at all.

  4. Hahahahaha I'm the token math-head in the family.

    Everyone except for me passed math on geometry. Me? I went into actuarial sciences for a year and a half before realizing that I was about to throw myself in front of a car.

    Luckily, I can also do other things.

    Left the course (and maths) about two years ago. I miss it though.



  5. Hmmm. Math people. My husband is a rocket scientist- a genious at math, but VERY much a scatterbrain.

  6. I remember when we were on the MathCounts Team, we never studied any advanced concepts of mathematics, but instead spent the time flipping over flashcards with simple equations for multiplication and division. Where would the world be if we didn't have calculators to simplify our math equations?!